The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity

The Argumentative Indian Writings on Indian History Culture and Identity In sixteen linked essays Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen discusses India s intellectual and political heritage and how its argumentative tradition is vital for the success of its democracy

  • Title: The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity
  • Author: Amartya Sen
  • ISBN: 9780312426026
  • Page: 315
  • Format: Paperback
  • In sixteen linked essays, Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen discusses India s intellectual and political heritage and how its argumentative tradition is vital for the success of its democracy and secular politics The Argumentative Indian is a bracing sweep through aspects of Indian history and culture, and a tempered analysis of the highly charged disputes surroIn sixteen linked essays, Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen discusses India s intellectual and political heritage and how its argumentative tradition is vital for the success of its democracy and secular politics The Argumentative Indian is a bracing sweep through aspects of Indian history and culture, and a tempered analysis of the highly charged disputes surrounding these subjects the nature of Hindu traditions, Indian identity, the country s huge social and economic disparities, and its current place in the world Sunil Khilnani, Financial Times, U.K

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    • The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity ¦ Amartya Sen
      315 Amartya Sen
    • thumbnail Title: The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity ¦ Amartya Sen
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      Published :2019-01-05T18:16:32+00:00

    About " Amartya Sen "

  • Amartya Sen

    Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society s poorest members.Sen was best known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceived shortages of food He is currently the Thomas W Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University He is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he previously served as Master from the years 1998 to 2004 He is the first Asian and the first Indian academic to head an Oxbridge college.Amartya Sen s books have been translated into than thirty languages He is a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security In 2006, Time magazine listed him under 60 years of Asian Heroes and in 2010 included him in their 100 most influential persons in the world.

  • 349 Comments

  • After all my dramatic agony and breathless complaining, I am glad I endured. The Argumentative Indian is neither easy nor fun to read. The first three pages of every chapter and sub-chapter are essentially wordy justifications of why the topic is deserving of discussion in the first place.Throughout the book I was constantly thinking, Amartya, homeboy, stop talking about what you're going to talk about and just get to it. Sen himself is quite the argumentative Indian and sometimes the book reads [...]


  • Amartya Sen is a renowned Economist and a Noble Laureate, he is not much of a historian and this book stands testimony to that.The comments on the back of the book claim a lot about this being the best account of Indian history that must be read by every Indian. I beg to disagree. I strongly feel that Dr.Sen should focus on Economics and leave history to historians.The book is supposed to be a collection of essays on Indian culture, History and Identity. However there is a lot of repetition in a [...]


  • I read this book in preparation for a coming trip to India, along with "English August", and English translations of the "Bhagavad Gita" and "Ramayana".It was, simply put, an articulate promotion for the value of the history of acceptance of heterogeny in India as part of the author's larger ideological framework and as a pointed criticism of the contemporary Hindutva movement, with beautiful threads of Indian history and culture woven in throughout. The book got me wanting both to learn more ab [...]


  • My ending note should be written first. If you like reading such books, not for the sake of reading it, but for trying to develop a view, for understanding, don’t read this book without the company of a pen and a notebook to take notes. I made that mistake and realized that I should have done this when I startedIt seems, we not only fight with each other, but think of foreigners with disdain. This was closely observed by Alberuni, the great Iranian scholar back in his days “depreciation of f [...]


  • “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”This often debated and allegedly misattributed quote says a great deal about modern schools of free speech and tolerance. In this collection of essays, Nobel winning Economist Amartya Sen celebrates the long history of argumentative tradition in Indian subcontinent, and its contemporary relevance in often neglected modern cultural discussions. And of all the things one could worry about or contemplate on, in [...]


  • There is an old adage that a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until finally, he knows everything about nothing. I found this statement to apply to Mr. Amartya Sen perfectly. Let me confess that this is the only book by Mr. Sen I have had the opportunity of reading. And I have to say-the experience was disappointing. What I had hoped to be an informative, well-researched account of Indian philosophies and school of thoughts turned out to be an amateur interpretati [...]


  • Time spent browsing message boards, gobbling tweets, combing through comment sections, and parsing truth from exaggerated facebook posts adds up quickly—the simple volume of text probably adds a dozen or more book-lengths to most people’s yearly reading list. That the text is proffered in nugget-sized chunklets is not the only siren song of social networking systems—there is an ever-present promise of interactivity. You can comment, even if you don’t comment. It deftly skirts the dead-te [...]


  • Published during the decade of rising communal violence, every essay in this book urges Indians to figure out an identity that is not rooted in their religion. Most Indians have a largely black and white attitude towards things: western influence, bad; culture and values, good; rationalisation, bad; faith, good. Almost every good hindu parent narrates selective stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana to their kids - the guys learn to listen to their elders from Rama and girls learn to never laugh [...]


  • This book sets out to defend the secular, plural and liberal imperative against sectarian (mostly Hindutva) arguments based in history and specious reasoning. This is also the perfect example of the kind of book to not write.One, the content is limited to a very few arguments arrived at from various considerations but not examined from various perspectives. Examples of Ashoka and Akhbar contributing to the secular tradition, Buddhism spreading far and wide, global import and export of ideas, the [...]


  • If you laid all the economists in the world end to end, the old joke goes, you would never reach a conclusion. So it's all the more remarkable that it is as a practitioner of the "dismal science" that Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in 1998. Sen is a man of conclusions; he is also brilliant at marshalling, with both extensive research and empirical evidence, the arguments that justify his conclusions. The Argumentative Indian -- a collection of 16 essays, many reworked and expanded from lectures [...]


  • Pity those who never got to know about sensible right wing. Our nobel laureate goes on with his center-left position throughout the book, word 'hindutva' occurs at numerous places. Lets start with secularism, his holiness enumerates many of Hindutva's problems with secularism, all fine but he completely misses the points discuss on what secularism should function like. Leave alone discussing about govt control of hindu temples, HE got a problem with Hindu right wing's patriarchal position w.r.t. [...]


  • ** I didn't read the entire book because I just couldn't stomach the thought of finishing a poorly edited and research set of essays. My comments reflect the 1/3 I was able to get through**1. The essays do not have a cohesive thread throughout. I understand that Sen put them all together in one book, but if he had edited them to reduce redundancy, that would have made it easier to read. 2. The history is basic. He doesn't delve into anything more than what Westerners already know about India - H [...]


  • The Argumentative Indian is one of my all time favourites. I picked up this book just because I wanted to read a Nobel Laureate and I was very impressed indeed. Though the book is a heavy read, after the first 50 pages or so you get the hang of the language and the author's thought process and it becomes highly compelling. This book was one which made me look at Indian culture (a phrase I think is quite loosely and wrongly used and more often than needed) and identity with fascination. It's one [...]


  • The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen, is a great experience through its essays divided into 4 parts. Part IThe book stresses the importance of different cultures that have co-existed in Indian history. The thriving of these cultures has been often championed by active healthy debates and arguments to resolve issues and develop a tolerance and respect towards each other. Dr. Sen points out that such debates were often supported by monarchs like the Mughal Emperor Akbar and Emperor Ashoka. He [...]


  • This is a very engaging collection of essays and lectures that Prof. Sen delivered on various occasions. Assimilating a wide range of subjects including history, philosophy, religion and politics, I consistently experienced a certain level of coherence in Sen's thoughts. He unambiguously advocates for promotion and propagation of a liberal thought-process that focusses more on celebrating what we are and what we have, than lamenting on what we could've been or didn't.You can feel the presence of [...]


  • Me liking or disliking a book has more to do with personal emotions rather than true merits of a book or the ideas contained in it. I'm in no way capable of judging how good an economist Amartya Sen is. But as a fellow human, I understand that he is a wonderful human being.


  • Sen establishes that India’s tradition for heterodoxy and argument is not restricted to male elites but cuts across gender, class and caste. The flow of his argument and richness of the sources convinces easily. Very early in the treatise, he also reveals his opposition to the Hindu right-wing thought. This is where things begin to come unstuck a bit.I do not differ from him on the Hindutava world view. I believe that respect for pluralism is essential for our well-being and there is room for [...]


  • No other author that I have ever known could stay true to his/her words and convictions throughout the course of the book as Mr.Amartya Sen can. He begins the book with the following words: ‘Prolixity is not alien to us in India.’ And, he goes on to prove his point with page after page of words that come back at you like the ocean waves – repetitive and superfluous. Prolixity may not be alien to us in India, but brevity definitely seems to be an alien concept to Mr.Sen.To begin with, the t [...]


  • This fascinating book on Indian identity is a journey with its ups and downs. The author tries his best to stay neutral, but at times it does get over passionate and an angry bias is visible. Sen sometimes seems in a trance repeating stuff that either makes you feel safe in a familiar territory and or makes you go "Not again". Sometimes he beats around the bush intentionally not wanting to highlight a disputed or vague topic. And at other times he is in such a hurry running after his departing t [...]


  • The Argumentative Indian – Is a collection of 16 essays, many reworked and expanded from lectures incorporating Indian history, literature and sociology. Author Mr. Amartya Sen, Noble Prize Winning economist, had solemnly played role of historian too. The book is not an easy reading. Language is explicit and complex. It demands your patience! I will not suggest this book to neophyte reader.Book is a discussion of Indian heterodoxy, secularism and argumentative nature. In first section he discu [...]


  • Amartya sen is a noted economist.but he is not only a specialist.his influences are varied and unorthodoxhooled at shantinektan, his interaction with art and history, makes his work very rich in diversity and heterodoxy does throw new light to old subjects.The most refreshing argument is made in India itself. The idea of an old,traditional, mystic India is incompletedia has always harbored the eccentric ones like Buddha,mahavira.even materialism was a major school of philosophy: carvaka.Nextly,i [...]


  • I felt that Amratya Sen did not do justice to the book. He raises some fine points about Indian history and current political situations, most of which I agree with but fails to present a comprehensive analysis of Indian history, culture and identity, as stated on the cover of the book. The book is more of a representation of his opinions and the writing feels biased towards proving the validity of his arguments. He seems obsessed with Hindu "fundamentalism" and his native Bengali culture. He co [...]


  • A masterpiece by one of the finest brains of the country. Really got me thinking as to who we really are, and how can we define ourselves? Are we really divided on the basis of caste, religion, region, sex etc or is there something else binding us all into a single identity!!


  • This makes for heavy reading.I personally lost patience after reading 3/4th of the bookI felt the Amartya Sen had nothing to say further after a point.Yet, i wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it. Its makes some wonderfully perceptive points and is a relevant work for our times.


  • India has always been a diverse place, which is a big part of why that part of the world fascinates me so much. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen's essays on history, philosophy, art, politics, economics, culture, and identity do a lot to highlight this diversity. It's no wonder the Hindu nationalist BJP recently tried to censor a film about him (nytimes/2017/07/17/op). As a philosophy professor who concentrates on Indian philosophy, I particularly love the focus in many of the essays on the rich tradi [...]


  • Chapters on Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray were the takeaways from this book. Tagore opposition to nationalism and difference of opinion with Gandhi; Lokayata & Caravaka sects in Hinduism; Akbar tolerant view of different religions and many more instances illustrates the argumentative tradition of Indian civilization.



  • Well , what does it take to bind a nation of 1.3 billion people . What is it that ties together the communities despite their inconsistencies and differences in cultures , perceptions and beliefs? What are those narratives that have been evoked time and again to emphasise the unity we inherit? From my own personal experience of learning history in school I am positively sure that the answers to these questions is a fact appreciated by an esoteric elite.Amartya sen highlights with all his accumul [...]


  • First of all, 1/52 on my 2017 reading challenge! Second of all, 3.5 stars.Now the review. Do not approach this book as a comprehensive account of Indian history, because it simply isn't. It is a collection of essays, or rather, speeches Sen has made over the course of some years. The book could've gained from some editorial intervention. Many ideas and examples (Akbar and Ashoka) were highly repetitive, and if it weren't for my obsession with seeing every book to completion, I probably would've [...]


  • It's a good book. Let's start by saying only that much.Especially the first two parts: "Voice and Heterodoxy" and "Culture and Communication". These two sections take a very unusual take on India's history - far away from the usual format of a history book - whether written by an Indian or an outsider. And it is because Dr. Amartya Sen chooses a very narrow scheme to explore the concept of India. The language is impeccable, precise and often complex - but never confusing. For me, a paragraph lik [...]


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